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Tenancy Length: What Does the Law Say?

Many landlords depend on a steady rent income to pay for their daily living expenses as well as their pensions, or to provide for their children. For landlords like these, deciding the length of the tenancy agreement that is most suitable is a vital issue.

This article outlines what are the lawful upper and lower limit on the length of the tenancy agreement for the UK. We will then discuss the things that landlords with long-term leases must be aware of when writing their leases. We will discover that the length of tenancy is a balance act that balances risk and security and reward, as well as agility and flexibility.

Long Term Tenancy: What Do the law say?

The rules are different across the UK and Wales, which is why England and Wales being subject to a different law in comparison to Scotland. These are the rules you need to be aware of.

Tenancy agreement England and Wales:

The majority of landlords provide An assured shorthold tenancy (AST). The AST agreements begin with a fixed duration that is typically 12 months. However, it could go as long as the three-year mark or seven. The AST is difficult to terminate prior to the fixed term being over, and so when people talk about length of tenancy, they generally refer to the fixed term.

If the fixed period has ended, the tenants may leave, or you may negotiate an extension of the fixed term agreement with them that will range from six months to three years. Alternately, you could permit the tenancy to be periodic. This is often referred to as”rolling contract”. In this case there is no expiration date for the contract but instead it continues to roll forward month-to-month. Each party is able to give notice to the other party to terminate the tenure.


Scotland has the privately residential tenancy (PRT) agreement instead of an AST. The main difference is that the tenancy has an open-ended. It’s an indefinite term. Without a fixed period, landlords cannot demand a tenant to move out after the lease is up.

The rules , however provide 18 specific situations where landlords can get possession back, for instance, when you decide to market the property or if your tenant has violated the conditions of the contract.

Deciding on the Most Effective Tenancy Contract Length

The most important decision for landlords that are located in England as well as Wales is how long they should make the tenancy contract length. Since the majority of landlords lease out their properties in the context of an income or investment vehicle, the best initial decision is to make the contract the longest period feasible. However, long fixed terms are not without their own disadvantages to reduce the benefits of security.

The choice is a delicate balance between going long and knowing that you have a tenant that will earn you a profit over the long run or cutting down. The shorter option gives you more freedom, but also comes with the risk of empty spaces and may result in having to pay for rental advertisements more frequently.

Benefits of a longer-term agreements

In the event that you’ve got a tenant that is planning to stay in your home for a long time typically, they’ll prefer an extended term. According to the nonprofit Shelter 90 percent of tenants would appreciate the protection that a longer agreement provides.

Tenants who have this type of status are more likely to be able to take good maintenance of their home as the feel “invested” in it. the property feels more like a home. Also, you will pay less since drafting an AST and then letting it run for a couple of years is more affordable than renewing every six month or once a year. Certain companies charge hundreds for renewing. Another advantage is that you’ll have lesser void periods between tenants, which will reduce the amount of days without rent being paid.

You’ll likely enjoy an improved relationship with a tenant who has been in the rental for a long time, which is beneficial since problems will be more easily resolved. Also, the tenant will be much more inclined to pay rent on time, each month, and avoid being late or running into rent arrears. It is impossible to underestimate the way this can benefit landlords in terms of cash flow forecasting and relaxed mind.

Advantages of longer-term agreements

Although long-term agreements are preferred for a variety of reasons are not without their drawbacks. If you are dealing with a troublesome tenant problems can last longer. It’s possible that long-term tenants are more demanding. While that’s great for taking care of your home but it also means that they could have a higher level of demands.

One major drawback of long-term leases is the need for rent reviews. Although you can alter the rent of prospective tenants, this is less easy for tenants who are already with a long-term contract. In reality, you can’t raise the rent for the term of a fixed-term lease, in the absence of an agreement in place between the landlord and tenant. It should be written in an agreement as a clause for rent reviews.

If you decide to increase rent for the same tenant renewing a fixed-term tenancy you should inform them prior to when the term expires. This gives the tenant the opportunity to choose whether they would like to pay more and remain or go out at the end of the lease and in that case, you’ll be able to locate an alternative tenant.

In Scotland there is a restriction on landlords’ ability to increase rent more than once per year. The tenant is required to give at minimum three months’ notice.

Benefits of a short-term lease contract length

The longer tenancies won’t be suitable for all landlords. Though everyone wants the highest profit from their property investment but some need to be able to relocate swiftly if things change. These short-term rentals let landlords be able to sell their property quickly and raise rent. They’re also necessary for landlords planning to move back into the home on a specific date, for instance the landlord who lets out their home to a year of traveling or living in another country.

In the case of a particular the location, there may be more demand for short-term tenancies. If this is the case it is possible to be more cautious when taking a look at references of tenants and deciding on the right tenant. This is particularly true for towns that have significant students.

Do your homework to determine the ideal length

Similar to everything else involved with renting property it is important to conduct research. In order to properly weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the length of the tenancy agreement be sure to take all aspects into consideration. Make sure to weigh the financial burden and save wherever you are able to. Don’t forget about your time and investment in your emotional well-being and being trapped for two years with a difficult tenant could cause as much stress of your time as finding a fresh tenant each six-month period.

Being a landlord can be straightforward and the less problems you face, or administrative issues to handle, may be more important than any additional financial cost.